Media report on more than 170 toppled Jewish headstones after a weekend vandalism attack on Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, a suburb of St Louis, Missouri, US, February 21, 2017. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Presenting the Anti Defamation League’s annual report on antisemitism to a Knesset committee on Monday, the group’s CEO in Israel stressed that the recorded surge in antisemitism does not present the whole picture, since many incidents are not reported.
Presenting the findings to the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee, ADL’s Israel director Carol Nuriel emphasized that many antisemitic incidents go unreported because the victims are afraid to report them, or because of the problematic nature of identifying the attack as antisemitic.
The data, released in November, showed that there was a 67% increase in antisemitic incidents across the US from January 1 to September 30, 2017, in comparison with the same period in 2016. 1,299 antisemitic incidents were reported in that period, including physical assaults, vandalism and attacks on Jewish institutions.
Nuriel noted that of the incidents reported, there has been a disturbingly high number of antisemitic bullying and vandalism incidents in schools and college campuses across the US.
Incidents in K-12 grade schools in 2017 more than doubled over the same period in 2016 (269, up from 130). On college campuses, a total of 118 antisemitic incidents were reported in the first three quarters of 2017, compared to 74 in the same period of 2016 – an increase of 59%.
MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union), Chairman of the Knesset Caucus to strengthen Israel- Diaspora ties, described the figures presented by Nuriel as “inconceivable.”
“These figures testify to demons emerging from the bottle [that] are now threatening to blacken the attitude toward Jews throughout the world,” he said.
“We must not remain silent and allow the worsening of the treatment of Jews and Judaism,” Shai continued. “This is a significant danger to the State of Israel. Antisemitism is the fuel that nourishes the BDS phenomenon, and the worse it gets, the worse Israel’s situation will be in the world,” he said, echoing the remark made by committee chair Avraham Neguise (Likud) that “new antisemitism” is disguised as anti-Israel expression.
“This situation demands a great political effort from us,” Shai said. “We must strengthen cooperation between the government of Israel and non-governmental organizations, and between the government of Israel and other governments – and intensify the struggle against this grave phenomenon.”
According to Yaakov Hagoel, vice-chairman of the World Zionist Organization, a recent survey conducted by his organization among American Jews revealed that 70% of them experienced an antisemitic event in the past year, and only 12% had never experienced any antisemitic incident at all.
Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Jewish Agency, emphasized the rise of political antisemitism, pointing at the antisemitism crisis in the UK’s Labour party, as well as antisemitism among the Muslim immigrant populations.
The Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ rally in August was also highlighted in the ADL report as a factor which contributed to a significant bump in antisemitic incidents. The report also noted that the rally was one of at least 33 public white-supremacist events in the US last year, which were supplemented with 188 incidents where they used fliers to spread their message to new audiences, especially on college campuses.
Ran Yaakobi, a representative of the Foreign Ministry, noted that a delegation from the United States, including Republican and Democratic members of Congress as well as the mayor of Charlottesville, will attend an international conference on antisemitism which is slated to take place in Jerusalem three months from now.